Weekend Watchdog: Rice, McCain Spin

Bill Scher

We were hoping to hear some tough questions asked of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain on the Sunday talk shows.

For Rice (CBS’ Face The Nation): You did not claim executive privilege when you were asked to testify under oath to the 9/11 Commission. Isn’t it inconsistent to claim executive privilege now, when you’ve been subpoenaed to testify about the White House charge that Saddam Hussein sought uranium from Niger?

On ABC’s “This Week,” Rice pre-empted George Stephanopoulos. Without being asked, she delivered her talking point to justify her refusal to comply with a fresh House subpoena, when in 2004, the White House backed down from executive privilege claims and had her testify to the 9/11 Comisssion.

I testified before the 9/11 Commission. At the time, the President made clear that he did not consider that a precedent, but that the overwhelming concerns about 9/11 did make it necessary.

Well, there you have it. It’s not a precedent because Bush said so. Besides, there’s no “overwhelming concerns” about how intelligence was manipulated anyway.

For McCain, R-Ariz. (Fox News Sunday): In your announcement speech, you said:

No government program is the object of more political posturing than Social Security and Medicare. Here’s the plain truth … if we don’t make some tough choices today, Social Security and Medicare will go bankrupt or we’ll have to raise taxes so drastically we’ll crush the prosperity of average Americans.

But if you were really interested in giving the public the “plain truth,” why didn’t you include in your announcement what you said three years ago: that you support Social Security “privatization“?

Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace did ask about McCain’s views, but failed to question why McCain masked his support for “privatization” in his announcement .

McCain did make a hash out of what he would support, telling Wallace he could support a tax increase as part of Social Security compromise, then seconds later, saying he “will not support a tax increase.”

 

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